July 3, 2019

MDIFW NEWS: Operation Dry Water 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Game Wardens and Marine Patrol Officers will be conducting patrols from Kittery to the Canadian border this coming weekend participating in Operation Dry Water. This national outreach and enforcement campaign is coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) to raise awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence and removing impaired operators from our nation's waterways.

In addition to Maine, thousands of law enforcement officers across the United States will be on heightened alert for those violating boating under the influence laws during Operation Dry Water weekend planned for July 5th to July 7th, 2019. In addition to drinking and boating enforcement, officers will be strictly enforcing laws pertaining to lifejackets for those recreating on the water.

Media ride-along and contact information We are inviting media for ride-along opportunities with a Game Warden or Marine Patrol Officer either on Friday, July 5th or Saturday, July 6th. Any news outlets wishing to participate in a ride along are asked to RSVP Corporal John MacDonald john.macdonald@maine.gov or phone at (207) 557-0818 or Jeff Nichols (DMR) at jeff.nichols@maine.gov or (207) 592-7301. We will do our best to be sure everyone has an opportunity to join us. We encourage all media to please use the following talking points that include recent data and enforcement goals related to Operation Dry Water. We hope you will join us in spreading the word.

Talking Points - Operation Dry Water 2019 With boating under the influence continuing to be a major factor in incidents and deaths on our nation's waterways, officers with local, state and federal agencies will again team up for Operation Dry Water, a national BUI awareness and enforcement campaign. The Maine Warden Service, Maine Marine Patrol, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard are joining together in an intensified effort to detect impaired boaters and enforce operating under the influence (OUI) laws in Maine. Held near the Fourth of July holiday, Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of OUI detection and enforcement aimed at reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related crashes and fatalities and fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water. Operation Dry Water 2019 weekend is July 5th to July 7th. Maine game wardens and Marine Patrol Officers will be conducting OUI focused enforcement and safety inspections while educating the public on the dangers of boating under the influence. Operating a watercraft under the influence (OUI) with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is against the law in Maine. OUI laws pertain to all vessels, from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships.

2018 Operation Dry Water Results (Nationally) Agencies reporting: 574 Officers: 7,418 Vessel contacts: 81,604 Boater contacts: 201,888 Citations: 7,305 OUI Cases: 494 Safety warnings: 19,260

2018 Maine Warden Service ODW Results: Eighty game wardens participated in the 2018 ODW effort. Those game wardens spent over 1,200 hours enforcing recreational boating activity, inspected nearly 2,500 watercrafts with 5,400 operators and passengers. The most common violations encountered by game wardens related to safety equipment, registration requirements, safe operation and boating while intoxicated. More than 100 summonses and 328 warnings were issued to boaters in 2018 during ODW. Game wardens arrested eight boat operators for OUI across Maine with the highest blood alcohol content (BAC) coming in at .22 BAC, Maines BAC limit being .08 for those 21 years old or more.

Attached image courtesy of the NASBLA